Coping with spatial expressions in a plausible manner is a crucial problem in a number of research fields, specifically cognitive science, artificial intelligence, psychology, and linguistics. This volume contains a set of theoretical analyses as well as accounts of applications which deal with the problems of representing and processing spatial expressions. These include dialogue understanding using mental images; interfaces to CAD and multi-media systems, such as natural language querying of photographic databases; speech-driven design and assembly; machine translation systems; spatial queries for Geographic Information Systems; and systems which generate spatial descriptions on the basis of maps, cognitive maps, or other spatial representations, such as intelligent vehicle navigation systems.
Though there have been many different approaches to the representation and processing of spatial expressions, most existing computational characterizations have so far been restricted to particularly narrow problem domains, usually specific spatial contexts determined by overall system goals. To date, artificial intelligence research in this field has rarely taken advantage of language and spatial cognition studies carried out by the cognitive science community. One of the fundamental aims of this book is to bring together research from both disciplines in the belief that artificial intelligence has much to gain from an appreciation of cognitive theories.